Skip to main content

Full text of "Artistic and decorative stencilling : a practical manual on the art of stencilling on paper, wood, and textile fabrics, for home adornment and articles of dress"

See other formats







/ 


A 


/ 





#/ c 




ALLEN’S TECHNICAL AND ART MANUALS 


ARTISTIC AND DECORATIVE 
STENCILLING 




























Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2016 


https://archive.org/details/artisticdecoratiOOauds 



Artistic 

and 

Decorative Stencilling 

A Practical Manual on the Art of Stencilling 
on Paper, Wood, and Textile Fabrics, for 
Home Adornment and Articles of Dress 

BY 

GEORGE ASHDOWN AUDSLEY, LL.D. 

ARCHITECT 

AUTHOR OF “THE PRACTICAL DECORATOR,” “ OUTLINES OF ORNAMENT,” “ORNAMENTAL 
ARTS OF JAPAN,” “ POLYCHROMATIC DECORATION AS APPLIED TO BUILDINGS IN 
THE MEDIAEVAL STYLES,” “HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM,” 

“GUIDE TO THE ART OF ILLUMINATING,” “THE ART OF 
CHROMOLITHOGRAPHY,” AND SEVERAL OTHER 
WORKS ON ART 

AND 

BERTHOLD AUDSLEY, Architect 


ILLUSTRATED WITH TWENTY-SEVEN PLATES IN COLOUR 
AND MONOCHROME , AND ENGRA VINGS IN THE TEXT 


LONDON 

GEORGE ALLEN & COMPANY, LTD. 

44 & 45 RATHBONE PLACE 

1 9 1 1 


[All rights reserved] 


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 


CONTENTS 

CHAP. 

I. Introductory 

II. Materials used in the Process of Stencilling 

III. The Preparation of Stencils 

IV. The Process of Stencilling .... 

V. The Artistic Stencilling of Textile Fabrics 


V 


PAGE 

3 

i3 

3i 

5 1 

65 










LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


PLATES 


XXVII. — Polychromatic Design, illustrating 

Shaded Stencilling on Silk (Co/our) . Frontispiece 

I. - — Illustration of a Japanese Stencil, showing \ Facing 

Silk-thread Tying J /• 36 

II. and III. — Eight Stencilled Designs, showing V Facing 

Methods of Tying J /• 4 ° 


IV. to VI. — Designs suitable for Powderings, in 
Flat and Shaded Stencilling 
VII. to XIV. — Conventional Designs, in Shaded 
Stencilling 

XV. and XVI. — Flying Geese, in Japanese Style, 
in Shaded Stencilling 


XVII. and XVIII. — Narrow Borders, in Flat Sten- 
cilling 

XIX. and XX. — Broad Borders or Crestings, in 
Shaded Stencilling 


\At end 
of book 


XXI. — Broad Border of Scrollwork, in Shaded 
Stencilling 


XXII. and XXIII. — Repeating Diaper Designs, in 
Flat Stencilling 


XXIV. to XXVI. — Polychromatic Designs, illus- 
trating Shaded Stencilling on Textile Fabrics 
( Colour ) 


viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT 

PAGE 

Print of All-over Stencil, showing all Ties . .41 

Full-Size Drawings of Stencil Cutters . . .43 

Print of Stencil, having Several Wavy Lines . . 46 

Drawings of Ordinary Stencil-Brushes . . *52 


CHAPTER I 
INTRODUCTORY 


A 



/ 


f 



BORDER— SHOWING REPEAT OF PLATE XXI 


ARTISTIC AND DECORATIVE 
STENCILLING 

CHAPTER I 

INTRODUCTORY 

I N recommending the study and practice of Artistic 
and Decorative Stencilling to all who are inter- 
ested in the tasteful adornment of the home, we feel 
confident that they will find the instructions given in 
the present manual both helpful and highly suggestive. 
We have endeavoured to make all practical matters 
as full and clear as possible ; and we feel assured if our 
instructions and advice are followed, with due regard 
to details, and with the exercise of ordinary skill 
and taste, successful results will be obtained. 

Artistic stencilling, as set forth in this treatise, 
does not appear to have hitherto been practised to 
any important extent, or in any consistent manner, 
in this country : indeed, stencilling has been very 

3 


4 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


generally looked upon as a mere mechanical process, 
devoid of interest, and incapable of any development 
or artistic treatment. That such an idea is entirely 
erroneous has been proved by the almost wonderful 
essays of the Japanese artists and artisans. We have 
before us as we write, transcripts of about a hundred 
Japanese stencils, which display invention in design 
and delicacy and accuracy in cutting that border on 
the marvellous. We have also a tanned deerskin, 
stencilled with an all-over pattern in dark brown stain, 
which is faultless in its execution ; and that which is 
still more interesting and instructive, a large square 
of thick silk of a grey colour, on which is represented, 
in natural colours, a duck swimming among water- 
plants . 1 Much of this beautiful work was evidently 
executed by stencilling, to which brush-work and 
embroidery have been added with striking effect. 
But one must turn to the decorated textile fabrics 
of the Japanese before one can thoroughly realise 
what the art of stencilling can accomplish. Pro- 
fessor Anderson informs us, in his valuable work — 
“ Pictorial Arts of Japan,” — that the introduction of 
the stencil into Japanese art-work is attributed to a 
dyer, named Someya Yuzen, who lived in the latter 
half of the seventeenth century, and that the art 
of stencilling has since his day been extensively 

1 This fine work is represented in one of the plates of “The 
Ornamental Arts of Japan,” by G. A. Audsley, London 1884. 


INTRODUCTORY 


5 


employed in the decoration of Japanese textile fabrics. 
It has been frequently used in the production of 
screen- or wall-papers, of which we possess several 
specimens ; and it has also been employed in the exe- 
cution of some beautiful hanging pictures — Kakemonos 
— of an elaborate polychromatic character. Two 
specimens of Kakemonos so executed are to be seen 
in the Anderson Collection in the British Museum, 
Nos. 3521, 3522: these belong to the early part of 
the nineteenth century. As a writer 1 on the subject 
of Japanese stencils remarks : “In a series of papers, 
as valuable as they are interesting, on Japanese Life 
and Art, Mrs. Ernest Hart describes the costume 
of the Japanese woman, which she tells us consists 
principally of a long loose garment with wide open 
sleeves, known as a Kimono , set high behind, cut 
low in front, folded across the chest and brought 
closely round the hips, and kept in position by a 
broad stiff sash called an obi. The Japanese women 
are extremely particular about the decoration of the 
kimono, which even in the cheapest descriptions of 
cotton or crepe is stencilled with ever-varying designs 
wherein the prolific imagination of the artist runs 
riot. Mrs. Hart opines that ‘ any cotton printer 
accustomed to the methods in use in England can- 
not fail to wonder at the elaborate designs he sees 
printed here on even the cheapest materials. The bold 


1 Mr. Andrew W. Tuer, F.S.A. 


6 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


free-hand drawing or the sketchy impressionism of the 
design, its complication, and the number of colours 
and shades introduced, makes him realise at once 
that no blocks or rollers could give such results.’ ” 
Of the processes of stencilling employed in decorating 
these textile fabrics, an outline is given in Chapter V. 
of this manual. 

We unhesitatingly affirm that stencilling, properly 
understood and practised, is an art not only capable 
of a high and useful development, but is in itself 
a field for the display of individual taste and skill 
to practically a limitless extent. Properly practised, 
it becomes more fascinating and more useful than 
embroidery in any of its forms. It accomplishes in 
many directions, and at a small expenditure of time 
and money, things impossible in embroidery, save 
in the hands of the incomparable art-embroiderers 
of Japan, whose masterpieces may represent many 
months, if not years, of patient labour, and that after, 
perhaps, half a lifetime of study and practice. Even 
these consummate artists of the needle were wont to 
recognise the dignity of stencilling, and did not think 
it derogatory to their finer art to lend its assistance 
to its additional adornment. The writer previously 
alluded to remarks: “Professor Anderson has shown 
us a very beautiful picture of a hawk and wild goose 
on silk, apparently in water-colours, but we are 
assured that nearly the whole of the work is from 


INTRODUCTORY 


7 


stencil-plates, the colours being gradated before they 
are dry by skilful touches of the artist’s thumb or 
other part of the hand, which give to the half-tones 
the effect of delicate stippling. The pencil or brush 
is actually used in giving a few final touches after 
the removal of the last stencil-plate. Pictures pre- 
pared in this way on squares of crepe or silk are 
generally finished with delicate embroidery in coloured 
silks and metallic threads, and are often mounted 
in albums and sold as hand paintings,” which, it must 
be admitted, they certainly are in the widest sense of 
the term. 

We discuss at considerable length in our pages the 
subject of Japanese stencilling, simply because it is 
the only school of the art from which inspiration and 
valuable instruction can be acquired. That stencilling 
in decorative art has been practised both in China and 
India we have every reason to believe, but no works 
bearing direct evidence of having been executed 
by the process, in either country, have come before 
our notice. We are strongly of opinion that stencil- 
ling was largely used by Persian decorators in some 
descriptions of ornamentation ; but here, again, we 
are unable to point to direct evidence of its employ- 
ment. It must be admitted that where much direct 
brush-work has been used it is difficult to decide how 
far, or if any, stencilling has been resorted to ; absolute 
accuracy in repetition is certainly the surest indication 


8 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


of its use, for the unaided hand can never approach 
that which stencilling can invariably accomplish in 
this direction. It may be argued, and with some show 
of reason, that the machine-like accuracy of stencil- 
work is a great weakness in the same. We do not 
dispute this opinion ; but if, in other directions, artistic 
feeling is infused into the work, such as by har- 
monious colouring and variety and beauty of tint- 
ing and shading, stencilling is to a very great extent 
redeemed from monotony, and its accuracy of form 
becomes almost an advantageous element. Certainly 
the crudeness and distortion which characterise so 
much of the decorative work repeated by the un- 
aided hand are not desirable from any point of view. 
Like all the decorative arts, stencilling has its limita- 
tions, but the field for its display is a fairly wide 
one, as the Japanese artists have shown : it has not 
been developed to any extent in this country, having 
been practically confined to the bold (and too often 
inartistic) work of the house decorator. Even in 
mural decoration it admits of an artistic treatment 
which it has never, to our knowledge, received ; indeed 
the usual “ slapdash ” methods of the modern English 
decorator have done much to bring the art of sten- 
cilling into disrepute. It is with the desire to re- 
store it to its proper place in the decorative-arts that 
we have written this little manual. Much more 
could be said in favour of the art than we have 


INTRODUCTORY 


9 


been able to set forth in the space at our disposal, 
but it is desirable to leave something to the ingenuity 
of those who may make the art a private hobby, 
or, in a wider field, a profitable employment. We 
commend the art, in its more artistic treatments, 
specially to attention of ladies, for the adornment 
of articles of furniture and dress, as we point out 
in Chapter V., for when enriched by means of a 
little embroidery in silk and gold thread most ex- 
quisite effects can be easily produced. 




CHAPTER II 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 
OF STENCILLING 



CHAPTER II 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 
OF STENCILLING 

T HE materials employed in the process of sten- 
cilling vary somewhat according to the nature 
of the ground or fabric on which the stencilling is to 
be executed ; and also on the use to which the sten- 
cilled article is to be put, or the treatment to which 
it is to be subjected. The materials alluded to are of 
two classes ; namely, pigments mixed with some size 
or gum dissolved in water ; and pigments in a vehicle 
or medium in which oil or varnish is a component 
part. As the pigments, or colours, as they are 
commonly called, are essential in all the preparations, 
they may be first enumerated and described, confining 
our list to the colours that are to be preferred in 
artistic and decorative stencilling. 


PIGMENTS 


Blues 


Reds 

1. Chinese Vermilion. 

2. Scarlet Vermilion. 

3. Scarlet Alizarin. 


1. French Ultramarine. 

2. Cobalt Blue. 

3. Permanent Blue. 

4. Prussian Blue. 

5. Coeruleum. 


4. Indian Red. 

5. Light Red. 


13 


14 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


Crimsons 

1. Carmine. 

2. Crimson Lake. 

3. Crimson Alizarin. 


Purples 

1. Violet Alizarin. 

2. Cobalt Violet. 

3. Purple Lake. 

4. Mauve. 


Yellows 

1. Cadmium Yellow. 

2. Indian Yellow. 

3. Lemon Yellow. 

4. Chrome Yellow, No. 1. 

5. Chrome Yellow, No. 2. 

6. Naples Yellow, No. 3. 

7. Roman Ochre. 

8. Yellow Ochre. 

9. Transparent Gold Ochre. 

10. Raw Sienna. 

11. Gamboge. 


Oranges 

1. Orange Vermilion. 

2. Orange Chrome, No. 4. 

3. Chinese Orange. 

4. Burnt Sienna. 

Greens 

1. Emerald Green. 

2. Chrome Green, No. 1. 

3. Chrome Green, No. 2. 

4. Veridian. 

Browns 

1. Burnt Umber. 

2. Cappah Brown. 

3. Vandyke Brown. 

4. Brown Ochre. 

5. Raw Umber. 

Blacks 

1. Lamp Black. 

2. Blue Black. 

Whites 

1. Flake White. 

2. Chinese White. 


The following particulars respecting the pigments 
above named may assist the student in the art of 
stencilling in selecting the colours best suited for the 
class of work he may be engaged upon : of the desir- 
able vehicles to be used we shall speak later on. 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 15 


Blues 

1. French Ultramarine . — This is a practically in- 
dispensable colour. It is usually too intense when 
applied alone, but produces a fine family of blues 
when mixed, in various proportions, with flake or 
Chinese white. When mixed with white and carmine 
or crimson lake it forms a valuable series of subdued 
purples and lilacs. 

2. Cohalt Blue . — A valuable blue of an entirely 
different quality to the preceding. While it can be 
used in its pure state, it forms beautiful light blues 
when mixed with Chinese white in various proportions : 
with the addition of a little carmine or crimson lake it 
produces a fine series of lilacs. It is absolutely per- 
manent. 

3. Permanent Blue . — This pigment is a fine pale 
variety of artificial ultramarine, having less of the 
purple tinge of the ordinary French ultramarine. It 
is a desirable colour, forming very pleasing shades 
in combination with Chinese white ; fine greens in 
combination with lemon yellow, chrome yellows, and 
cadmium yellows ; and good purple tones in combina- 
tion with carmine or crimson lake. 

4. Prussian Blue . — This colour is valuable on 
account of its transparent character and its staining 
powers. It mixes well with Chinese white, forming 


x6 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


delicate blues ; and enters largely into the formation 
of greens and lilacs. 

5. Cceruleum . — A very pure and beautiful blue; 
valuable both alone and in combination with white 
and other colours. It is derived from cobalt and 
tin, and is permanent. 


Reds 

1. Chinese Vermilion .— This deep-toned vermilion 
is both useful and permanent. It forms fine warm 
browns in combination with burnt umber and lamp 
black. Deepened by carmine it is suitable for shading 
scarlet vermilion ; or, slightly paled with Chinese 
white, it is valuable for shading pure salmon tints. 

2. Scarlet Vermilion . — This is the finest of the 
vermilions, and is practically indispensable in decora- 
tive stencilling of the richest class. Combined with 
Chinese white, in different proportions, it forms a series 
of pure salmon tints ; and it forms rich body crimsons 
in combination with carmine. Used alone, it is a fine 
shading colour for orange. There is an orange 
vermilion, but it is not necessary to use it, as an 
orange tone can be imparted to scarlet vermilion 
by the addition of cadmium or chrome yellow. 

3. Scarlet Alizarin. — A very beautiful scarlet 
colour, somewhat deeper in tone than scarlet vermilion, 
and although it does not take the place of that 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 17 


pigment, it is valuable for combination with other 
colours. It is permanent. 

4. Indian Red . — A permanent, dull, deep-toned 
red. While it can frequently be used alone, and for 
shading, it is valuable in forming warm browns, and 
useful tints in combination with the different yellows 
and white. 

5. Light Red . — A permanent red, considerably 
lighter and brighter than Indian red ; it is a useful 
colour when used alone in subdued effects ; it also 
enters into combination with other colours, producing 
many fine tints. With yellows and black or Vandyke 
brown it forms good chocolate colours. 


Crimsons 

1. Carmine . — This splendid pigment is the richest 
of the crimsons, and is certainly indispensable in the 
production of several very choice and valuable colours 
and tints. Used alone, unless as a transparent stain, 
it is too dark, appearing as a dull claret colour. To 
realise its true value as a crimson body-colour, suitable 
for ordinary stencilling, it must be mixed with scarlet 
vermilion. It does not form agreeable tones of 
pink when paled with white. With chrome yellow it 
yields some beautiful tints, and with cobalt and French 
ultramarine it produces purple and violet colours, 
which may be paled with white. As a component of 

B 


i8 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


body-colours, it may be said to be permanent ; but 
when used pure, as a stain, it is not permanent. 

2. Crimson Lake . — While not so fine a colour 
as carmine, crimson lake is very valuable in com- 
bination. It forms good rose or pink tints with 
Chinese white, surpassing carmine in this direction ; 
and it enters into the formation of purple and lilac 
colours. As a body-colour it requires a liberal addi- 
tion of vermilion. 

3. Crimson Alizarin . — This fine pigment rivals 
carmine in richness, and has the great advantage over 
that colour and crimson lake in being permanent. 
It combines with other colours in a manner similar 
to carmine and crimson lake. 


Purples 

1. Violet Alizarin. — There are very few simple 
pigments of a purple or violet colour, and certainly 
the most desirable one is violet alizarin. It is a beauti- 
ful, permanent colour, inclining, as its name implies, 
toward the blue scale : this can be changed to a 
normal purple by the addition of crimson alizarin 
or carmine. Fine body-colours are produced by the 
addition of Chinese white in small quantities. 

2. Cobalt Violet . — A pigment which holds in 
the purple scale a position to that held by cobalt blue 
in the blue scale. It differs from violet alizarin in 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 19 

so much that it inclines toward the crimson scale. 
As a body-colour in combination with white, it pro- 
duces delicate and pleasing tints. Perfectly per- 
manent. 

3. Purple Lake .- — This is a pigment which, like 
carmine, is obtained from cochineal, and is, ac- 
cordingly, very fleeting when used pure as a stain. 
Combined with an excess of Chinese white it forms 
body-colours of pleasing tints. 

4. Mauve . — This pigment is prepared from an 
aniline dye, and is, like purple lake, somewhat fleeting. 
It is useful for some effects, but is the least desirable 
of the pigments of a purple colour. 


Yellows 

1. Cadmium Yellow .—, A valuable, beautiful, and 
permanent pigment, particularly full and brilliant. 
It combines in the most satisfactory manner with 
scarlet vermilion, scarlet alizarin, crimson alizarin, 
and carmine, producing brilliant and valuable tints. 
Paled with lemon yellow or white, it forms delicate 
body-colours. 

2. Indian Yellow . — A very desirable pigment, of 
good staining quality, and absolute permanency. It 
is valuable in combination with the body blues, pro- 
ducing good shading greens inclining to the olive 
tones. 


20 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


3. Lemon Yellow . — This is a pigment of the 
greatest use in stencilling, being in itself of good body, 
and producing fine body-greens in combination with 
French ultramarine, permanent blue, cobalt, and 
coeruleum. The series of greens it produces by ad- 
mixture with French ultramarine, in different pro- 
portions, are extremely valuable, extending as they 
do from the palest yellow-green to the deepest blue- 
green. It is absolutely permanent. 

4. Chrome Yellow , No. 1. — A good body-colour, 
valuable alone when a bright light yellow is required, 
and equally valuable in the production of rich greens 
when combined with French ultramarine or perma- 
nent blue. It is not absolutely permanent, becoming 
darker on long exposure. 

5. Chrome Yellow , No. 2. — This is similar in its 
properties to the preceding chrome yellow, but is 
considerably richer and fuller in tone : it also produces 
a series of full-toned greens in combination with 
French ultramarine or permanent blue. In com- 
bination with scarlet vermilion it forms a very rich 
orange. Paled with Chinese white it yields very soft 
yellow-buffs : in this combination it is practically 
permanent. 

6. Naples Yellow . — As this pigment is a com- 
pound of cadmium yellow and white, it is by no 
means indispensable when its constituents are in the 
possession of the artist. 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 21 


7. Roman Ochre. — A perfectly permanent pig- 
ment of a dull and deep yellow, approaching the 
orange scale. It is valuable for the production of 
a family of dead greens when combined with French 
ultramarine or permanent blue. Combined with 
Chinese white, and stained with Prussian blue, it 
furnishes another family of useful greens. Paled 
with Chinese white it gives good buffs of full body. 

8. Yellow Ochre . — A pigment similar in its char- 
acter to the preceding, but of a brighter and lighter 
colour. In all essentials, the remarks made respect- 
ing the combinations of blues and white with Roman 
ochre apply to combinations of the same pigments 
with yellow ochre. 

9. Transparent Gold Ochre . — A pigment of a 
golden-yellow colour, suitable for staining or toning 
combinations of body-colours. 

10. Raw Sienna . — A pigment of a permanent, 
earthy nature, and of a dull yellow colour. It is 
only useful in combination with other pigments. 

11. Gamboge. — This is a useful pigment for 
staining purposes, being practically transparent. With 
Chinese white it forms very delicate yellowish tones ; 
and it is serviceable in the formation of greens with 
body-blues. It is a resin imported from Siam. 
When used alone it fades on long exposure. 


22 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


Oranges 

1. Orange Vermilion . — This is the lightest and 
brightest-toned of the vermilions. While it is a 
valuable and practically permanent pigment, it is not 
indispensable. 

2. Orange Chrome , No. 4. — This is a good pig- 
ment, but, like all the chromes, it is very liable to 
become duller or browner on long exposure. In 
combination with the blues, with and without the 
addition of Chinese white, it forms a line family of 
autumnal or faded greens. 

3. Chinese Orange . — This is a beautiful and valuable 
compound pigment, which is practically permanent. 
It can be paled with lemon yellow, or altered in 
tone by the addition of Indian yellow, which is one 
of its components. 

4. Burnt Sienna . — This pigment, prepared by burn- 
ing raw sienna, is of a brownish-orange colour. It 
is valuable in many combinations, with blues and 
greens producing line autumnal tints. With white 
it forms a useful family of buffs. It is absolutely 
permanent. 

Greens 

1. Emerald Green . — An extremely brilliant light 
green, which would be invaluable in decorative 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 23 


stencilling if it had sufficient body to be readily 
applied in its pure state. It is valuable as a stain ; and 
when given body by the addition of lemon yellow, 
and slightly stained with Prussian blue, it becomes 
very serviceable. It produces extremely delicate 
body-greens when combined with Chinese white. It 
is permanent. 

2. Chrome Green , No. 1. — This is a compound 
pigment, produced by the mixture of lemon chrome 
and Chinese blue. It is a body-colour. It can be 
paled with lemon yellow or white, and deepened by 
French ultramarine or permanent blue. It is practi- 
cally permanent. 

3. Chrome Green , No. 2. — This is a deeper-toned 
green than the preceding, but in every other respect 
it is precisely similar. 

4. VericLian . — A rich and bright normal green, 
which is very useful as a stain, and forms beautiful 
tints with Chinese white and lemon yellow. 


Browns 

1. Burnt Umber . — A rich warm brown pigment, 
of full body and absolute permanency. It is valuable 
in the production of numerous tints when combined 
with yellows, reds, and whites. It is a useful shading 
colour in dark and subdued effects. 

2. Cappah Brown . — An absolutely permanent 


24 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


colour, of a colder tone than that of burnt umber. It 
is valuable in combination with vermilion, chrome 
yellows, and white. 

3. Vandyke Brown . — An earthy pigment of con- 
siderable use in combination, especially in the produc- 
tion of colours of the chocolate class, as mentioned in 
our remarks on light red. 

4. Brown Ochre . — An absolutely permanent, earthy 
pigment, useful in combination, but not indispensable. 

5. Raw Umber . — An earthy pigment of a greenish 
brown colour, very valuable in the production of a 
series of quiet-toned buffs. 


Blacks 

1. Lamp Black . — This pigment is invaluable in 
decorative stencilling ; not only because it is a full 
body-colour and can be used alone, but from the fact 
that it enters into combination with several pigments 
producing useful tones. With either Chinese white 
or flake white it produces a large series of greys ; with 
vermilion it forms rich browns ; and with greens it 
gives some peculiar shading colours. It is absolutely 
permanent. 

2. Blue Black . — While this is a useful pigment, 
it is by no means indispensable. It is a compound of 
ivory black and blue. It forms good greys when 
mixed with white ; and a singularly dull green when 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 25 

mixed with chrome yellow. It has not the body of 
lamp black, nor its permanency. 


Whites 

1. Flake White . — This pigment is a preparation 
of white lead. For large work which is to be exposed 
to light it is useful and practically permanent ; but it 
is liable to turn black if long kept from the action 
of direct daylight. It enters into combination with 
all the pigments in the above list, simply paling some, 
and creating entirely new tints when added to others. 

2. Chinese White . — This invaluable pigment is 
zinc oxide, of good body, and absolutely permanent. 
For fine stencilling it is superior to flake white, while 
it presents all the good points that pigment can lay 
claim to. It should be preferred to both flake white 
and the pigment known as “ permanent white,” which 
latter is barium sulphate. 


PREPARATION OF THE COLOURS 

When water mediums are to be used, finely-ground 
powder pigments or dry colours are to be preferred, 
especially if the designs to be stencilled are of a reason- 
able size and have to be repeated several times. When 
the work is minute and elaborate in detail, it will be 
found desirable to use the “ Elementary moist water 


26 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


colours,” used in the London County Council Schools. 
These are sold in large tubes at a very moderate cost, 
and can be strongly recommended, requiring the addi- 
tion of a few drops of water only to reduce them to 
the proper consistency for stencilling. When powder 
colours are to be used, they should be slightly damped 
with a clean, weak solution of gum-arabic, and rubbed 
perfectly smooth with a palette-knife, or glass muller, 
on a glass slab. Only sufficient gum-water must be 
added to bring the colour to a stiff paste, which will 
be found, on testing it, to lay on well without showing 
any tendency to run under the edges of the stencil. 
Too much care cannot be taken in securing the proper 
working consistency. Water-size, prepared from parch- 
ment cuttings or Russian glue, is very good, but it is 
somewhat difficult to manipulate, owing to its natural 
tendency to coagulate to an undesirable extent, and so 
clog the stencil. On this account we strongly recom- 
mend the gum medium as above mentioned. 

White-of-egg was largely used by the illuminators 
of the Middle Ages, as a medium for the fine powder 
pigments they used ; and evidently with great success, 
as one can judge from an examination of their illumi- 
nations in which this medium was evidently employed : 
to give sufficient body to the colours, gum was added 
to the egg-glaire. For perfect stencilling, thick gum 
must be added to the glaire so as to bring the powder 
colours to the proper consistency. The medium so 


MATERIALS USED IN THE PROCESS 27 

composed is highly suitable for stencilling on textile 
fabrics. 

For stencilling on wood or metal, oil colours 
should be used. For small and high-class work the 
ordinary oil colours prepared for artists are the 
most desirable : to these a strong siccative must be 
added, otherwise they will take a considerable time 
to dry. For larger and bolder work, the less ex- 
pensive “ School of Art, Decorators’ oil colours ” can 
be used with advantage : these are furnished in large 
tubes, and are in every sense desirable, only requiring 
the addition of a strong siccative. 

For stencilling on silk and other fine textile fabrics, 
a special class of oil colours has been prepared ; the 
advantages of which are that they lay on easily and 
evenly, admit of being immediately shaded, and neither 
spread under the stencil nor stain the fabric around 
their edges while drying. All these conditions are 
essential in work of so delicate a character. These 
“Textile Stencilling Colours” are furnished in tubes 
ready for use ; but if found too stiff, they can be 
reduced by the addition of a drop or two of the special 
“Textile Stencilling Medium” which accompanies 
the colours . 1 

1 These colours and all the other materials and implements de- 
scribed in this Manual can be obtained from the Publishers, Messrs. 
George Allen & Company, Ruskin House, 44 & 45 Rathbone Place, 
London. 



CHAPTER III 

THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 



CHAPTER III 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 

T HE stencils which are, at once, the most elaborate 
and most perfectly executed of those known 
in the arts, are the large and richly-patterned stencils 
used by the Japanese for ornamenting the fine deer- 
skin leather and the textile fabrics of Kioto and 
other industrial centres . 1 The stencils used by the 
leather-workers are generally of a large size, so as 
to cover at one application the entire surface to be 
stencilled : they are usually of a positive character, 
except in some small details, where a negative treat- 
ment obtains ; and are so cleverly designed and cut 
as to require no ties which interfere with the pattern. 
In design, the stencilled patterns commonly present a 
groundwork of small, plain leaves so compacted as to 
require only a narrow dividing line of the unstained 
leather between them : these lines form a complete 
network in the stencils, doing away with all necessity 
for supporting ties after the manner prevalent in 

1 Three engravings reproduced from photographic prints taken 
from actual and extremely elaborate stencils used by the leather 
decorators of Japan in ornamenting deer-skin, are given in “ Keramic 
Art of Japan,” vol. i., by G. A. Audsley and J. L. Bowes : London 1880. 


32 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


stencils employed for other purposes. When flower- 
shaped devices and small animals are introduced at 
intervals — almost invariably irregular — amidst the 
leafage, they appear in the natural leather, simply 
defined and detailed by lines produced by negative 
stencilling. In this process of leather ornamentation 
a dark brown stain is used which harmonises perfectly 
with the quiet buff colour of the tanned skin, and 
produces a very satisfactory effect. Sometimes, but 
comparatively seldom, negative stencils are employed, 
which produce all the designs in the natural leather 
colour on a dark stained ground, the colour of which 
varies. The stencils are formed of two or three layers 
of thin and extremely tough native paper, securely 
pasted together, and cut with the greatest precision : 
they are rendered fit for use by being saturated with a 
preparation of the lacquer varnish so largely used in 
Japanese art, which, when dry, resists the action of 
water, remaining absolutely unaffected during the 
operation of stencilling. 

Interesting and instructive as are the leather- 
decorating stencils, they occupy a subordinate place 
when compared with the absolutely wonderful stencils 
formed for the decoration of textile fabrics. We 
have before us, as we write, a comprehensive collection 
of reproductions of these stencils, and it is not too 
much to say that in their intricacy and perfection 
of cutting they simply baffle description. In their 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 


33 


designs, almost all suitable natural objects are pressed 
into service; among these are land, water, snow, 
clouds, animals, birds, fishes, dragons and other 
fabulous creatures, trees, bamboos, flowers of every 
favourite kind, grasses, and insects. In the formation 
of these stencils, certain methods obtain suitable for 
the subjects and the designs they present ; and, per- 
haps, apart from the consummate skill displayed 
in their cutting, the most notable feature in their 
formation is the ingenious and effective manner in 
which objectionable tying of the more delicate parts 
is overcome. There are many designs in which ties 
can be allowed to remain unfilled, especially if they 
do not clash with their leading elements, or the 
defining lines which strictly belong to them ; while 
in other designs, ties have an eminently destructive 
effect, and, accordingly, have either to be omitted 
from their stencils, or when the designs are stencilled 
on any material, the lines left exposed by the ties 
have to be filled in by hand, in the manner we have 
found it necessary to do in the preparation of many 
of the plates given in the present manual, and as will 
be shown later on. 

The Japanese stencil cutters have overcome the 
difficulty of tying in a most ingenious and effective 
manner. The manner may be described as follows : 
Instead of using for the stencil a single substantial 

sheet of paper, which may have been prepared by 

c 


34 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


pasting two or more thin sheets together, and simply 
leaving ties therein in the ordinary manner, the work- 
man takes a thinner sheet of double the required size, 
and folds it equally ; or he takes two similar sheets of 
the required size, and attaches them together along two 
opposite edges. On one face he draws the design, without 
indicating any ties, or merely those which are required to 
hold any slender or weak portions of the stencil in 
proper position temporarily, and which will be subse- 
quently removed before the stencil is used. In the pro- 
cess of cutting, the knife is held in a position as nearly 
vertical as practicable, so as to penetrate through both 
sheets in precisely the same way. On the completion 
of the cutting, the sheets are opened, leaving the 
fold of one pasted edge intact : then the workman, 
bending back the upper sheet, covers the surface of 
the lower sheet with slow-drying, sticky varnish, and 
proceeds to lay across the cut design numerous fine 
silk threads in such directions as are required to 
effectually tie all parts which are liable to move in 
the process of stencilling. When this is done to his 
satisfaction, he closes the sheets together and subjects 
them to a pressure sufficient to secure their perfect 
contact and attachment. The process is concluded 
by cutting out any paper ties that may have been 
left in temporarily, as before mentioned, and by fully 
protecting the paper by saturating it with the lacquer 
composition already alluded to. The system of 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 


35 


tying by means of the silk threads, held firmly be- 
tween the two layers of paper, is in all respects 
efficacious ; for, in the act of stencilling, the threads 
are not only in themselves too fine to interfere with 
the action of the stencil-brush, but they bend slightly 
to-and-fro, just sufficiently to prevent their presence 
being recorded on the stencilled surface. It must 
be noted that at the only places where there would 
be a possibility of their leaving records, namely, at 
the ends where they enter between the layers of 
paper, the threads are held above the stencilled 
surface by the thickness of the under layer. 

In Plate I. is given a reduced copy of portion 
of a Japanese stencil, showing the manner in which 
all the delicate members of the pattern are held in 
position by the crossing silk threads. The stencil 
from which the reproduction has been made bears 
evidence, in the destruction of many of its threads, of 
having been often used. 

There need be no difficulty in following this very 
clever and desirable Japanese method, which may 
be properly designated blind-tying, provided one can 
accomplish the double-cutting successfully, and find 
a thick, slow-drying varnish or composition that will 
not have any tendency to expand the under paper 
while the silk threads are being stretched across it, 
and which will remain sufficiently adhesive to per- 
manently cement the upper layer of paper to its 


36 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


surface while under pressure between heavy pieces 
of plate glass. Suitable Japanese paper can easily 
be procured ; accordingly, the only difficulties in the 
way of a successful essay are, as said above, the 
acquiring of sufficient skill in the process of double- 
cutting, and, what is of equal importance, the procural 
of a suitable adhesive varnish which will have no 
tendency to expand the paper on which it is spread. 
Of course, the greatest care must be exercised in 
laying the upper layer of paper exactly in its original 
position on the adhesive surface of the under layer : 
inaccuracy in this direction will be extremely difficult, 
if not impossible, to repair. Once the upper paper 
rests on the sticky varnish, it will, in all probability, 
mean destruction of the stencil to pull the papers 
apart. So far as our examination of actual Japanese 
stencils of this class extends, we have failed to detect 
any inaccuracies in the adjustment of the two layers 
of paper ; in many of the very elaborate and minutely 
detailed stencils a wrong adjustment, amounting to 
merely a slip equal to about the thickness of the 
paper, would have proved fatal to their perfection. 

Leaving the interesting subject of Japanese stencil- 
making, we may now proceed with our directions for 
the fabrication of such stencils as are required for the 
execution of the decorative class of stencilling which 
forms the subject of the present Manual. 


Plate I 

































THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 


37 


THE PAPER FOR STENCILS 

Supposing the design to have been prepared or 
decided on, the first matter of importance in connec- 
tion with the preparation of the stencil is the selection 
of a paper suitable for the same ; due regard being 
paid to its toughness, on the one hand, and its easy- 
cutting quality, on the other. When a very simple 
and somewhat bold and open stencil is required, say, 
for such a device as the fleur-de-lis given on the right 
of Plate IV., a good cartridge drawing-paper, not too 
hard or too close in texture, will prove quite satis- 
factory. But for more elaborate designs, such as 
those given in almost all the other plates, a high-class 
Japanese paper must be used, simply because there is 
no other paper manufactured that completely meets 
all requirements. A sample of the most suitable 
quality of this paper is given here : it fulfils every 
condition requisite for the production of a perfect 
stencil, possessing a greater degree of toughness than 
any other paper known to us, which is at all suit- 
able for use ; it presents the minimum resistance to 
the knife, cutting absolutely clean and evenly ; and 
it absorbs the protecting varnish readily, ultimately 
assuming almost the firmness and durability of a thin 
metal plate, such as is sometimes used by professional 
stencil-cutters. All the designs in the present Manual 


38 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


were originally produced by means of stencils cut in 
Japanese paper, exactly similar to the accompanying 
sample. An examination of Plate XXIII., and the 
print of the repeating stencil used in its production, 
given in Fig. i, will show what can be easily done by 
the knife in Japanese paper. Further examples are 
furnished by Plates XV. and XVI. 


TRANSFERRING THE DESIGN OF 
THE STENCIL 

When a piece of suitable paper is selected, the 
next proceeding is to carefully transfer the design to 
its surface. This is done through the agency of the 
tracing described in our Chapter on preparing the 
design. After the transfer is made, it will be desir- 
able to line it cleanly and distinctly with a hard pencil, 
at the same time correcting any inaccuracies or slips 
in the transfer ; following this by drawing on it a well- 
considered series of ties, or those only absolutely 
necessary to secure rigidity in all the parts when cut. 
Tying is a matter of considerable importance, as has 
already been pointed out in our remarks on Japanese 
stencils. Ties should be carefully attended to with 
the view of their retention in the stencilled design, or 
of their easy filling-in in the same. Different designs 
call for more or less elaborate systems of ties ; while 
in devices of a bold and simple character they can 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 39 

be altogether dispensed with, as in those given in 
Plate IV. In the concluding passage on the preceding 
subject, we directed the reader’s attention to the 
elaborate character of the cutting called for in the 
production of the stencil by which the all-over pattern 
in Plate XXIII. was executed ; and we desire to 
direct attention again to this plate, as an illustration 
of a pattern which demands, in the preparation of its 
stencil, what may be considered the maximum amount 
of tying. The print of the actual stencil employed 
in the execution of the plate is given, full size, in 
the accompanying illustration, Fig. 1 : it shows the 
elaborate system of ties in the leaves required for the 
support of their conventionally rendered veins, and 
the few bracing ties required in the other features of 
the design. It is only in designs of this class that so 
large a proportion of ties is necessary ; for in examin- 
ing Plates II. and III., which contain eight small prints 
of the stencils used in the execution of the cor- 
responding plates, it will be seen that comparatively 
few ties have been found necessary to hold the parts 
of the stencils in place. The stencil represented in 
Fig. 1 is a close-repeating one ; that is, it is so cut 
as to repeat, in both ways, to cover any extent of 
surface. The repeat is, to a small extent, shown in 
Plate XXIII. 

When all the drawing has been satisfactorily exe- 
cuted, the paper is brushed over, on both sides, with 


4 o 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


a thin varnish, made by dissolving shellac in highly 
rectified spirits of wine. It is essential that these 
primary coats be of a weak solution, so that the 
varnish may completely penetrate the paper, but, at 
the same time, leave it in a perfect state to be easily 
cut. After these coats have lost all stickiness, the 
paper should be laid between folds of some soft 
paper, and pressed between pieces of plate glass or 
any suitable flat surfaces. 

CUTTING THE STENCIL 

When the varnished paper, as above described, has 
dried sufficiently to retain its flatness, and to assume 
a certain degree of firmness, the cutting should be 
proceeded with. It may be stated that it is not only 
not necessary to allow the varnish to become hard, but 
it is really desirable to cut the stencil just before it 
reaches that state. Japanese paper cuts much more 
easily and cleanly while the varnish remains slightly 
soft. In the process of cutting, the first and most 
important instrument is the knife ; and fortunately 
there is no difficulty in procuring a suitable one. The 
form and size of the blade which we have found to 
answer every purpose, and with which all the stencils 
used in the execution of the plates in the present 
Manual were cut, are shown at A in the following 
illustration, Fig. 2. The knife, as commonly made, 


Plate II 




yyvvvv 

WWW 



(?) e*9 


«i|f IAI 

C?9 




■ 








Plate III 


jft 

m 

Ww 

j&8k„ 

t/r 

1 - J 

«&» 

is 

m 



THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 


4i 



Fig. 1. — Print of repeating stencil used in producing Plate XXIII. 


42 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


has both the edge and back of its point curved, or 
lancet-shaped ; but this shape is not well suited for 
fine stencil-cutting ; accordingly it is desirable to grind 
the back of the point straight, in the manner indicated 
at A : this produces a perfectly satisfactory cutting 
blade both for larger and smaller stencil-work. 1 While 
it is necessary that the knife be kept sharp and in 
perfect cutting condition, it is not desirable that its 
point should be ground extremely thin and weak. 
Experience will, however, soon direct the stencil 
cutter in all matters connected with the sharpening 
of the knife. 

To be cut with ease and certainty, the stencil 
should be laid on glass — preferably plate glass — and 
held, at the same time, firmly and freely by the 
fingers of the left hand, spread to any desirable extent 
according to the size and form of the paper, and 
pressed sufficiently to hold the stencil safely, and to 
move it, as required, on the surface of the glass. In 
cutting the larger straight and curved lines, the blade 
of the knife should be held at an inclination of about 
45 0 from the surface of the glass ; but this inclination 
will have to be modified slightly according to the 
curvature of the cutting portion of the blade : the 
exact or most desirable angle will, however, be readily 
found by the operator. As the cut is being made, 

1 Knives specially made, under the direction of the Authors, can 
be obtained from the Publishers, Messrs. George Allen and Company. 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 




Fig. 2. — Full-size drawings of stencil-knife and circular-cutter. 


44 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


the stencil should be moved, by the fingers of the 
left hand, in such a manner as to always allow the 
knife to be drawn toward the operator. It will be 
found, after a little practice, that the operation of the 
blade can be greatly assisted by moving the stencil 
onward from its point, while the latter is held 
steadily against the surface of the glass, and moved 
more or less in the contrary direction, or toward the 
operator. As a rule, it may be stated, the more the 
stencil is skilfully moved in the process of cutting, 
and the less the knife is moved, the better the result 
will be. After a little practice, this desirable method 
of cutting will be found both easy and expeditious. It 
is desirable to cross-cut all the ties before proceeding 
with the other cutting ; and as the knife approaches 
a cut tie it should be brought up practically vertical, 
so as to secure a clean and true junction of the cuts. 
Small perforations and very quick curves must be cut 
with the knife held almost vertically. When narrow 
strips of the paper have to be left in a very accurate 
manner between perforations, such as those between 
the feathers of the wild geese shown in Plates XV. and 
XVI., the blade must be held very nearly vertical. 
Every portion of the stencil represented in Fig. i 
was cut with the knife held in this almost vertical 
position. In all kinds of cutting, the knife must be 
kept sharp ; and it must be pressed with only sufficient 
force to pass entirely through the paper — too much 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 


45 


pressure against the glass is apt to make the blade slip 
and ruin the stencil. 

In addition to the knife, already described, the 
only small appliance necessary in stencil-cutting is 
that required for the easy and accurate cutting of 
circles or arcs of circles, which are essentially difficult, 
if not absolutely impossible, to be cut successfully 
by the unaided hand. The most satisfactory and 
reliable form of this appliance is that shown in side- 
view at B and top-view at C, in Fig. 2. These 
drawings are accurately rendered, full size, from 
the circular-cutter used by us in cutting all the 
smaller circles and arcs of circles shown in the 
stencilled plates in the present work. It will be 
seen from the drawings that the cross or horizontal 
bar i, which carries the knife 2, slides in a slot 
in the vertical portion 3, and is fixed to any radius 
by the binding-screw 4. The knife, which passes 
through a slot in the horizontal bar, is likewise held in 
position by the binding-screw 5. The steel centre- 
point on which the cutter turns is at 6, and it occupies 
its lateral position with respect to the vertical portion 
3, to enable the knife to approach very close to it 
for the cutting small circles. 1 

In using the circular-cutter, it must invariably 
be held vertically, with its points pressed lightly 

1 Circular-cutters, specially made in accordance with the design 
shown at B and C, Fig. 2, can be obtained from the Publishers. 


46 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


but firmly through the paper of the stencil. Its 
proper position in the hand of the operator is with 
its top button 7 (of hard wood, and made to re- 
volve), resting in the palm of the hand, immediately 
under the joint of the first finger, and the thumb 
and first and second fingers resting on the lower 
part of the central portion and the horizontal bar, 
in the manner best calculated to control the action 



Fig. 3. — Print of stencil executed with the circular-cutter. 


of the knife. In the process of cutting, the knife 
is slowly turned away from the operator ; while at 
each convenient pause in the cut, the paper, with 
the knife remaining in it, is drawn round toward 
the operator ; the cut being continued after each 
shift of the paper : by this method a perfectly clean 
cut is made without removing the centre-point of 
the cutter from the paper. The accompanying print, 
Fig. 3, from a stencil of the same size, cut by the 
appliance and in the manner described, shows the 


THE PREPARATION OF STENCILS 


47 


accuracy that can be attained in such cutting even 
in the absence of steadying ties. 

When the arc of any circle has to be cut, the 
radius of which is longer than that possible with 
the appliance illustrated in Fig. 2, a beam-compass, 
fitted with a small blade, may be used with perfect 
results. In using it, the point should be held steadily 
and vertically with the left hand, and the cutting 
portion moved slowly, and with just sufficient pressure 
to completely cut the paper, with the right hand. 
Without considerable practice it may be found some- 
what difficult to cut with the appliances above de- 
scribed directly on the surface of the glass, owing 
to the liability of the centre-point to slip from its 
perforation in the paper, in which it has so very 
slight a hold. To avoid this happening to a large 
extent, a flat piece of hard and smooth cartridge 
drawing-paper should be laid between the stencil 
paper and the glass, into which the centre-point of 
the cutter can enter and obtain a good hold. 

When the cutting is entirely finished, nothing 
remains to be done to complete the stencil but to 
varnish it sufficiently to give it the necessary strength 
and resistance against any substance — water or oil — 
that may be used in the process of stencilling. In 
this final varnishing, a shellac varnish, such as is 
commonly sold as French-polish, should be applied 
in three or four coats, according to the nature of 


48 ARTISTIC STENCILLING 

the stencil, and the amount of times it is to be used. 
After each coat the stencil should be allowed to 
dry and harden under sufficient pressure to keep 
it flat. When all this has been satisfactorily accom- 
plished, the stencil is ready for use. 


CHAPTER IV 

THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 


D 



CHAPTER IV 


THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 

T HE process of stencilling, while essentially 
simple, calls for the exercise of both skill and 
patience. Like every manual art, it requires, for its 
successful performance, a certain amount of practice, 
and a constant attention to what may be deemed 
trifling matters. Carelessness must never be indulged 
in, in any part of the process, for imperfections accru- 
ing therefrom are often difficult and sometimes im- 
possible to rectify : this is especially the case with 
stencilling executed on textile fabrics. It will be our 
endeavour, in the present Chapter, to make every 
detail connected with the successful prosecution of 
the process of stencilling on different materials per- 
fectly clear to the reader. 

Next to the stencil, the preparation of which has 
been fully described in the preceding Chapter, the 
most important article is the stencil-brush. Stencil- 
brushes are made of good hog-hair, firmly fastened in 
metal ferrules which are attached to short, round- 
ended wooden handles : their usual form is shown in 
Fig. 4. They are round in form, and made in six 


5 2 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 



II 


n 


sizes, the smallest useful one being about three- 
eighths of an inch in diameter. In this ordinary form 

the hair is much too 
long for fine stencil- 
ling, and, accordingly, 
it is necessary to shorten 
it by tightly binding it 
around with adhesive 
tape, 1 in the manner 
indicated at B, in Fig. 
4. By this means the 
hair is brought closely 
together, and prevented 
from spreading in the 
process of stencilling. 
At our suggestion, spe- 
cial short-hair brushes 
have been made, which 
require no binding; and 
these should be used 
for all artistic work. 
Brushes which are per- 
fectly flat at their ends 
must be selected, for it 
is practically impossible to lay on colour uniformly, 
or to execute delicate shading, with an uneven brush. 

1 The adhesive tape here alluded to is that sold for surgical 
purposes : it should be about half an inch in width. 



Fig. 4. — Drawings of ordinary 
stencil-brushes. 


THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 


53 


After a brush has been used for a short time, it may 
be found, on careful examination, that some of the 
fine points of the hairs have become bent or slightly 
curled : these should be very carefully removed with 
a pair of sharp scissors, without in any way impairing 
the flat surface of the brush. Should any of the out- 
side hairs break or bend outwards, so as to spread the 
brush locally, they should be cut away : it is impera- 
tive that the brush be kept compact and even on its 
working surface, otherwise perfectly sharp and clean 
stencilling cannot be obtained with any degree of 
certainty. 

The other articles required in the process of 
stencilling are a palette and a palette-knife. The 
former is easily procured, being, in its most convenient 
form, a piece of thick glass about twelve inches 
square : the glass slab mentioned in connection with 
the preparation of powder colours will be, in all 
respects, a suitable palette, both for water and oil 
colours. The palette-knife to be of the ordinary 
kind, having a blade about five inches in length : it 
is required for mixing the different colours, bringing 
them to the proper working-consistency, and for 
spreading them thinly and evenly on the glass, so 
as to permit the stencil-brush to take up just the 
requisite amount of colour when applied with a light 
stippling motion. Great care must be taken, every 
time the brush is charged, to test its condition before 


54 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


applying it to the stencil ; for the sharpness and 
cleanness of the stencilled work depends very largely 
on the exercise of this careful charging. An over- 
charged brush, hastily applied, may spoil the work of 
hours. While experience, in this matter, must be the 
only reliable teacher, we may advise the beginner 
to use his brush very lightly charged : more time will 
be expended over his work, but the result will be 
satisfactory in the end. 

Before proceeding to apply the colour, the stencil 
must be placed in position, and securely fixed by 
needle-points, or some other suitable means, to the 
surface to be decorated. Needle-points are preferable 
to any other means of fixing when they can be used 
without leaving objectionable marks, as in the stencil- 
ling of textile fabrics and soft woodwork : but when 
the stencil is applied to metal or any other hard 
substance, it must be secured in position by small 
pieces of adhesive tape or gummed paper, or anything 
that will hold it in place without injuring the surface 
of the article to be stencilled. Provided that all the 
directions given above have been properly attended 
to, the actual process of stencilling, or laying on of 
the colour, may be proceeded with. 

STENCILLING ON PAPER 

The tyro in the art of decorative stencilling should 
confine himself to stencilling in water-colours on paper 


THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 


55 


or cardboard until he has gained experience and con- 
fidence in the elementary branches of the process. 
Early failures and mistakes will teach him more than 
any instructions our pen can indite for his learning. 
Mistakes will convey their own lessons, tell their 
own story anent their cause, and point the way to 
their avoidance in future. If paper is used, it should 
be of good substance, such as cartridge drawing-paper, 
and have a smooth surface ; and it must be stretched 
on a drawing-board, so as to allow the stencil to lie 
perfectly close and flat on its surface. We re- 
commend for practice a smooth-faced cardboard, such 
as the best quality of white mounting-board : this 
requires no stretching, and takes the colours readily. 

In using the stencil-brush, great care must be taken 
to charge it so lightly with somewhat stiff* colour that, 
on first application to the perforations of the stencil, it 
will do little more than deposit a mist-like stain on 
the paper : then, with caution, further applications are 
to be made with a more liberally charged brush, until 
a solid and perfectly uniform coating of colour has 
been deposited. From time to time, one needle-point 
may be withdrawn and the stencil lifted for examina- 
tion. In applying the colour, the brush must be held 
vertically, so that its hairs may strike the paper in a 
perfectly flat and even manner. Unless this position 
of the brush is observed, there will be a great risk of 
some hairs slipping under the edges of the stencil, and 


56 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


blurring the outline of the pattern. The brush must 
be applied with a firm and quick up-and-down stip- 
pling motion, which will soon be acquired by practice. 
Under no consideration must the brush be applied 
with a rubbing motion, or, indeed, any motion save 
the vertical one just described. 

Decorative stencilling embraces four varieties of 
treatments ; namely, flat monochrome, shaded mono- 
chrome, flat polychrome, and shaded polychrome. 
Flat monochrome stencilling, in one colour, is repre- 
sented in Plates V., VI., XVII., and XXIII. Flat 
polychrome stencilling, in two or more colours or tints, 
is represented in Plates XVIII. and XXII. Shaded 
monochrome stencilling is represented in Plates IV., 
VII, VIII, IX, X, XL, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, 
XVI, XIX, XX, and XXL Shaded polychrome 
stencilling is represented in Plates XXIV, XXV, 
XXVI, and XXVII. All these varieties can be exe- 
cuted in water-colours on paper or cardboard. 

Shading, as shown in the several plates, can be 
executed in darker shades of the ground-colour or in 
tints differing from that of the ground: this latter 
method may be effectively used in the artistic shading 
of leaves, and the colouring of flowers or conventional 
flower-forms. In water-colour stencilling, it is always 
desirable to lay the entire pattern or device with the 
ground-colour or colours, and subsequently apply the 
shading. After the ground has been laid, the stencil 


THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 


57 


must be removed and carefully washed : and after the 
ground-colour has become thoroughly dry and hard, 
the stencil must be replaced, and the shading pro- 
ceeded with. The tyro may find shading, in which 
perfect graduation obtains, somewhat difficult at first, 
but practice and careful observation will soon give him 
the necessary skill. For simple shading, only one 
dark tint will, as a rule, be necessary: this must be 
laid on with an extremely delicate touch where it dies 
into the ground, gradually increasing the amount of 
colour as the shade approaches its full depth. For 
very pronounced shading, two, or even three, different 
tints may be found necessary. The plates given in 
the present treatise, having been carefully photo- 
engraved from actual stencil-work, show the effect of 
different classes of stippled shading executed with the 
stencil-brush. 

After all the shading is completed, the stencil 
should be laid on a piece of glass and carefully washed, 
and then dried, under pressure, between sheets of 
blotting-paper. If the stencil is to be often used, it 
is desirable that, from time to time, it should receive 
a thin coat of weak shellac-varnish to counteract the 
softening effect of repeated washings. The stencil- 
brush should be well washed after being used ; and 
then a strip of paper should be wound around its hair, 
so that it can dry compact and straight. 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


58 

STENCILLING ON WOOD 

Artistic stencilling can be largely and most effec- 
tively employed for the decoration of articles of 
household furniture. It is peculiarly suited for the 
enrichment of painted furniture ; and in this direction 
provides a wide field for the taste and skill of the 
amateur. Articles finished with white or ivory-tinted 
enamel paint, and which present plain surfaces, are 
admirably adapted to receive stencilling in colours. 
For instance, delicate arabesques of an Italian Re- 
naissance character, executed in black on an ivory- 
tinted enamel, produce all the effect of real ivory 
veneering inlaid with ebony. Beautiful conventional 
or naturalistic floral designs, executed in shaded 
colours, produce appropriate decorations on panels or 
other flat surfaces of suitable size. Dark grounds 
stencilled in either rich or subdued tints, are extremely 
effective. Designs in gold on black or dark polished 
woods are easily executed by stencilling with gold-size, 
to which a little chrome yellow has been added, and 
applying gold-leaf to the same when the proper degree 
of “tack” has been reached. The gold so laid on 
can be tinted or shaded with transparent colours by 
applying the stencil, and using a soft stencil-brush 
with a very light touch. Panels of doors, mantel- 
pieces, &c., are suitable fields for decorative stencilling ; 


THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 59 

and any degree of elaboration can be indulged in on 
such favourable surfaces. 

In stencilling on wood, oil-colours must be used, 
applied by the stencil-brush in the same manner 
as previously described for water-colour stencilling. 
There is one advantage in oil-colours ; namely, that 
any imperfect work can be immediately wiped off, 
and the portion restencilled : this remark, however, 
only applies to stencilling on a painted or otherwise 
protected wood surface. Imperfections in oil-colour 
stencilling on textile fabrics cannot be repaired with 
any degree of success. The tyro should practise 
stencilling with oil-colours until he has mastered the 
necessary preparation of the pigments, and proved 
their proper consistency or working condition : the 
proper condition is reached when the colours can be 
laid on in a good body, without any tendency to 
spread underneath the edges of the stencil. A 
somewhat light stippling motion is to be preferred in 
stencilling with oil-colours on wood or any hard 
surface, so that the colours may lie evenly and solidly 
under the action of the brush. 

In the process of shading, it is neither necessary 
nor desirable that the ground-colour be allowed to 
dry before the darker tints are applied. It is only 
necessary to have all the requisite tints prepared and 
a brush provided for each ; and when the first or 
ground-colour has been stencilled, the shading tints 


6o 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


can be immediately applied and softly graduated into 
the ground and each other : artistic sense and taste 
can be the only true guides in this process, and in the 
selection of the tints and their disposition so as to 
produce the effects desired. In all cases where variety 
in shading is admissible, it should invariably be 
adopted. Foliage, in particular, benefits from variety 
both in colour and shading. 


POLYCHROMATIC STENCILLING 

In polychromatic stencilling, the branch of the 
process known as shielding must be resorted to, unless 
the more troublesome and uncertain method of pre- 
paring as many different stencils as there are to be 
colours used be followed. It is always desirable to 
avoid unnecessary complexity, especially when it leads 
to indifferent results ; and, accordingly, we strongly 
advise the use of a single fully-cut stencil, and the 
adoption of the very simple and effective method of 
shielding. 

Shielding consists in temporarily covering such 
portions of a stencil pattern as are not to be coloured 
at the time ; leaving the other portion or portions 
exposed which are to be stippled in a special colour. 
For instance, if three ground-colours are to be applied, 
it will be necessary to shield the stencil three times, 
successively exposing the portions of it which are to 


THE PROCESS OF STENCILLING 


61 


be similarly coloured. To prepare the shields, all 
that is necessary is to lay the stencil on three pieces of 
paper — preferably tracing-paper — and lightly stencil 
the pattern on them with any thin water-colour : then, 
after cutting out the portions of the pattern that have 
to be stencilled in the same colour, gum or paste the 
shield to the upper surface of the stencil, necessarily 
covering all the other portions which have to be sub- 
sequently stencilled in different colours. When the 
first colour has been laid on and shaded as required, 
the stencil must be lifted, and its shield removed by 
dipping it in water for a few minutes. When the 
stencil is dry, and any colour that may remain on it 
has been removed (with a cloth and turpentine if oil- 
colour has been used), the next shield, displaying the 
portions to be stencilled in another colour, is attached 
to it, and the process repeated, as just described. 
The third shield has to be treated in a precisely similar 
manner. These directions have special reference to 
fine and artistic stencilling. When large and bold 
designs have to be stencilled on any material, and to 
be several times repeated, a separate stencil for each 
colour will be found convenient : proper register marks 
must be made, so as to enable each succeeding stencil 
to be accurately adjusted to the portions previously 
stencilled. 



CHAPTER V 


THE ARTISTIC STENCILLING OF TEXTILE 
FABRICS 



CHAPTER V 


THE ARTISTIC STENCILLING OF TEXTILE 
FABRICS 

I T can be safely said that no nation, laying any 
claim to be artistic, has surpassed the Japanese 
in the direct application of ornamental and decorative 
art, both in form and colour, to articles of manu- 
facture and daily use : certainly no people has more 
thoroughly realised the importance of clothing even 
the most insignificant things in a garment of art — 
art almost invariably full of meaning and sentiment. 
While we are lost in admiration at the superb pottery, 
enamels, embroideries, carvings, metal-work, lacquer, 
and other important art and industrial work of Japan, 
we are equally lost in positive wonder when we care- 
fully examine the minute articles of utility the artisans 
of that country have, for centuries, produced in such 
marvellous variety and matchless perfection. We can 
claim to speak with some authority on this sub- 
ject, for we have made Japanese art a life-long study. 
It was our privilege to deliver the second lecture 
on Japanese Art, and the first lecture on Japanese 
Keramics ever heard in Europe : this, combined 


66 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


with our production of two large works on the 
Keramic Art and the Ornamental Arts of Japan, may 
afford some proof of our ability to speak of the de- 
corative arts of the versatile and painstaking artists 
and artisans of the Land of the Chrysanthemum. 
These words lead to the statement we desire to 
make here ; namely, that in the development of the 
processes of stencilling, along artistic lines, and in 
their practical application in the coloured embellish- 
ment and dyeing of textile fabrics, no people in the 
world’s history has approached the Japanese. 

The processes of stencilling practised by the artists 
and dyers of Japan are so varied and instructive that 
they call for, at least, a brief description here. Of 
the preparation of the stencils employed, particulars 
are given in our Chapter devoted to the subject of 
stencil-cutting, and the subject need not be again 
introduced here. Of the processes of stencilling just 
alluded to, those employed in the production of patterns 
by dyeing may, very properly, be first described. These 
are three in number, one of which is resorted to for 
the production of designs, in a single colour, on 
white or light-tinted grounds : this may be con- 

sidered a positive process. The remaining two pro- 
cesses are employed for the production of white 
patterns or grounds on fabrics coloured in the dye- 
vat : these may be classed as negative processes in a 


certain sense. 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 67 

The first process is simple positive stencilling, 
and presents neither difficulty nor uncertainty in its 
manipulation. The fabric, which is either white or 
has been dyed some light colour, is stretched flat on 
a suitable board, and marked in a temporary manner 
so as to guide the placing of the stencil. When this 
has been satisfactorily accomplished, the operator lays 
and fixes the stencil in position on the fabric : then, 
with a suitable brush, he carefully stencils the design 
on the fabric with a dye or stain of the required 
colour. The dye has been so prepared with gum- 
water or fine rice starch or paste as to prevent its 
either flowing underneath the stencil or spreading 
in the material of the fabric — usually cotton or silk. 
In the hands of the Japanese workman this simple 
process is conducted with unfailing success. When 
ail the stencilling has been executed, and allowed to 
become dry and hard, the fabric is either subjected to a 
steaming process, or immersed in a chemical solution, 
which permanently fixes the dye. A final washing, 
to remove every trace of the gum or paste, completes 
the process. As a rule this method in its simplest 
form, as above described, is used for the ornamenta- 
tion of the commoner class of fabrics, such as are 
used for cheap dress and other cotton goods. Towels 
are commonly patterned in this way. These facts, 
however, do not prevent stencils of the most elaborate 
character being used. Of the compound positive 


68 ARTISTIC STENCILLING 

stencilling on rich and delicate fabrics we speak 
farther on. 

The second process is a simple negative one ; and 
is resorted to to produce a white pattern on a coloured 
ground. In this case, the fabric is white, and pre- 
pared for stencilling in the manner previously men- 
tioned. The substance used for the stencilling is one 
technically designated a “ resist ” ; that is, a substance 
which, when properly applied to a textile fabric, so 
encloses its material as to protect it from the action of 
any dye or stain in which the entire fabric may be 
immersed for a short time. The resist used by the 
Japanese in this process seems to have rice paste for its 
foundation, but its exact composition we have not been 
able to ascertain. When the stencilling is complete, 
and the resist absolutely hard and dry, the fabric is 
dipped in the dye-vat once, or, at safe intervals, as 
often as it is necessary to obtain the desired depth of 
colour. The fixing methods are the same as those 
mentioned in connection with the first process. A 
final washing, to remove the resist, completes the 
operations. This process is both easy and effective 
when the white devices are of a simple character and 
distributed at considerable distances apart, probably 
in the irregular fashion so frequently affected by the 
Japanese artists: but when the design or pattern is 
an “ all-over 19 one, and the ground is, accordingly, 
very evenly distributed throughout its features, and, 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 69 

probably, small in surface measurement in comparison 
with that of the pattern, a large stencil is required, com- 
prising the entire repeat, and of a negative character — 
that is, its perforations represent the ground portions, 
not those of the pattern. Under these conditions, the 
Japanese workman will resort to the first process above 
described, and stencil with a dye of the colour required 
for the ground. The final fixing and washing are, of 
course, the same as in the first process. The result 
is a more or less elaborate pattern in white on a 
coloured ground. 

The third process differs from the two preceding, 
being employed to produce white devices or patterns 
on fabrics which have been completely dyed previously. 
The process is practically a positive one in so much 
that the stencil creates the pattern, not the ground. 
The stencil employed is similar to that used in the 
first process ; but instead of a dyeing or staining com- 
position being stencilled on the fabric, as in that pro- 
cess, a composition of an entirely different chemical 
character is used, which is technically designated a 
“ discharge.” This composition varies somewhat, as 
it has to exercise a proper chemical action on the 
special dye of the fabric. When the discharge has 
been properly stencilled and allowed the necessary 
time to act, the fabric is immersed in a bath which 
completes the discharge of the dye, completely bleach- 
ing the pattern, which now appears white on the 


7 ° 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


original dyed ground. There is a variant of this 
process, similar to that obtaining in connection with 
the second process. When it is required to produce 
a pattern in the original dye of the fabric, by creating 
a white ground, which may be less in surface measure- 
ment than the coloured pattern, the Japanese work- 
man prepares an all-over stencil, perforated with the 
ground -spaces only, and embracing the full repeat. 
Applying this to the surface of the dyed fabric, he 
stencils it with the discharge. On the completion of 
the subsequent bleaching and washing, the pattern 
appears on a white ground. 

Although the three processes just briefly outlined 
practically cover all the methods of stencilling em- 
ployed by Japanese in the decoration of textile fabrics 
their dry description can convey no clear idea of the 
consummate skill and taste displayed in their applica- 
tion. We can advisedly say that no one who has not 
carefully examined the finest decorative-art work in 
this direction, which we find in the beautiful silk and 
crepe fabrics woven and decorated in Kioto and other 
industrial centres, can realise the absolute perfection 
of design and delicate colouring they present, much, 
and often all, of which is the product of the stencil 
and stencil-brush. In the decoration of the finer 
dress-fabrics, natural flowers, such as the chrysan- 
themum, wisteria, iris, peony, hydrangea, convol- 
vulus, several lilies, and plum-blossom, are introduced, 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 71 

combined and arranged in an artistic manner and with 
a colouring that defies description. In the process of 
stencilling, the flowers and leaves are delicately tinted 
in softly graduated tones, producing most exquisite 
effects of harmonious colouring. In this direction, 
nothing can well surpass the renderings of maple 
leaves in their changing autumnal tints of gold, scarlet, 
and crimson : and there are few objects of the vegetable 
world that are greater favourites with the Japanese 
artist-stencillers. The effect of an irregular powder- 
ing of richly and variously-coloured maple leaves on 
a dark blue or green silk fabric can well be imagined, 
and might easily be tested if we could obtain the 
gorgeous sun-painted leaves of the Japanese trees, 
and dispose them artistically on a piece of navy-blue 
silk or satin. 

The mode of producing a fabric richly decorated 
with such variegated leaves as are above mentioned 
may be briefly described here, especially as the process 
is full of suggestiveness. If, for instance, a piece 
of dark blue silk is to be powdered irregularly, in 
the characteristic Japanese fashion, with leaves of 
different shapes and sizes, the artist prepares as many 
separate stencils as the various leaves demand : then 
placing these in such positions, and at such distances 
apart, as his taste directs, he stencils the fabric with 
a “ discharge,” ultimately producing the leaves in 
white on the blue ground. At this stage the true 


72 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


artistic part of the process commences. Selecting a 
stencil which fits the white leaf it originally produced, 
the artist temporarily fixes it in position, and then 
with two, three, or four brushes, each charged with 
a differently-coloured dye — probably yellow, scarlet, 
and crimson — he stencils the several parts of the 
leaf with the same, artistically associating and blending 
them, so as to imitate the natural colouring of a 
leaf. The modus operandi , just briefly described, is 
essentially simple, but, in its successful practice, it 
calls for just such a skill as the Japanese textile 
stencillers possess, combined with their love of nature 
and innate artistic sense of the beautiful. Although 
one may not be able all at once to rival, or even 
approach, the finest decorative stencil-work of the 
Japanese, there is no reason to depreciate one’s ability 
to try, with a reasonable certainty of achieving very 
satisfactory results. It may also be pointed out, as 
some apology for our less artistic and less perfect 
workmanship, that we can neither claim the hereditary 
instinct, on the one hand, nor, on the other hand, 
employ the admirable materials that have been proved 
by many years — perhaps centuries — of constant use, 
possessed by the Japanese textile artists. 

Before leaving the subject touched upon in the 
preceding remarks, we must allude to the subsidiary 
processes sometimes resorted to to complete the work 
of the stencil and stencil-brush. The principal of 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 73 

these is hand-painting, employed to introduce the 
delicate stem-work, the veining of the leaves, and 
such minute features of the flowers as are undesirable 
to be transferred by stencilling, or to be exactly 
repeated. By this free brush-work the decorator 
can readily give a truly artistic finish to his more 
mechanical work. The student of the art of stencil- 
ling will find it necessary to follow this desirable 
method, as we shall show later in the present Chapter. 
In this hand-painting the Japanese use dyes or stains 
of a permanent character, and of different intensities 
according to the strength of tone required. Another 
subsidiary mode of decoration is embroidery, employed 
for the production of both very delicate and highly 
pronounced effects, and invariably with artistic results. 
This can be easily understood when it is realised 
that no people in the world’s history has surpassed 
the Japanese in the art of embroidery. Applied to 
stencil decoration on a silk fabric, embroidery adds 
a peculiar brilliancy and charm, and, as will be 
described later, it brings stencilling prominently to 
the front as an art-process. 

Having described sufficiently the processes followed 
by the Japanese in the production of their beautifully 
stencilled textile fabrics, we shall devote the rest 
of this Chapter to practical directions for artistic 
and decorative stencilling on silk and other fabrics suit- 
able for house-furnishing and articles of dress. In 


74 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


recommending the process of stencilling for the deco- 
ration of such fabrics we speak advisedly and from 
experience ; for when the designs are of a suitable char- 
acter, and the stencilling is artistically performed with 
the proper colours, harmoniously arranged, the effects 
produced are far in advance of those which are exe- 
cuted by either block-printing or loom-work. In both 
these purely mechanical methods a dead uniformity, 
both in surface-decoration and colouring, is all that 
can be looked for ; while in the process of stencilling 
an endless variety of colour-effects are not only possible 
but extremely easy of production ; and every oppor- 
tunity is given the artist to display his skill and taste 
in harmonious colouring. Like the Japanese textile 
decorators, he can distribute his decorative features 
with a freedom quite unknown in the mechanical 
processes of the textile-printer and weaver. The only 
art employed for the embellishment of textile fabrics 
which can be fairly compared with the class of artistic 
stencilling now under consideration is embroidery, 
which, although superior to the finest stencilling in 
several respects, is unfortunately an extremely tedious, 
expensive, and exacting art, demanding, for its satis- 
factory exercise, a long training and extraordinary 
patience. No stencil-work can approach the richness 
of embroidery executed in “ feather-stitch ” (opus 
plumarium ), but it can surpass, in delicacy and variety 
of colouring and intricacy of design, the best applique. 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 75 


A glance at the coloured plates given in the present 
work will make our meaning plain to the reader : 
it is only necessary to imagine the designs, there 
shown, carried out on a larger scale, and carefully 
outlined around their edges with Japanese gold thread, 
to realise effects far more artistic than any obtainable 
by the ordinary process of applique . It is proper 
to remark, however, that embroiderers have sought 
to overcome the flat and somewhat monotonous effect 
of the applied silks by shading them with a brush 
or stitches. We strongly advise our readers to follow 
the suggestion conveyed in the remarks just made, 
and develop the combination of artistic stencilling 
and gold outlining. Hangings, cushions, and certain 
articles of dress, can be very beautifully decorated 
and enriched by this combination. A very fine silk 
cord can be used instead of the Japanese gold thread, 
especially if the designs are large and bold and appear 
on curtains or portieres. 


STENCILLING TEXTILE FABRICS IN 
WATER-COLOURS 

For work more or less of a temporary character, 
colours prepared with water and gum or size can be 
effectively employed. Full directions for the pre- 
paration of these colours are given in Chapter II. 
For small and fine work, the “Elementary moist 


76 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


water-colours” should be used, care being taken to 
bring them to the exact consistency required for easy 
manipulation. It is essential that, in using the stencil- 
brush properly charged, the colour should go on 
thinly and cleanly, having just sufficient body to cover 
the fabric without hiding its texture. The colour 
must be well driven into the threads of the fabric, 
otherwise it will have a decided tendency to scale off 
or crack. Before proceeding with the actual work, 
the colours should be thoroughly tested on a piece of 
the fabric. When once the proper consistency has 
been decided, every care must be taken to retain it in 
that condition. 

Very beautiful decorations can be executed by 
stencilling in water-colours on dress-fabrics which are 
not likely to require washing, and, indeed, the process 
lends itself to decorative treatments of the most re- 
fined and effective character , 1 and to the display of 
artistic taste and skill in design and manipulation. 
Of course, both brilliant colouring and elaborate 

1 On one occasion we suggested the decoration of evening dresses, 
of a thin, cream-coloured material, by means of this class of stencil- 
ling. The designs were in a Greek style, formed of a fret-pattern, 
surmounted by an anthemion cresting somewhat resembling that 
given in Plate XIX. These were carried around the skirts, forming 
deep borders to the same ; and were executed in graduated light 
blue tints, full at bottom and almost dyeing into the tint of the fabric 
at top. The colours used were Chinese white and cobalt blue ; the 
latter being introduced in varying quantities, simply acting as a 
stain. The dresses were unique and greatly admired, nothing like 
their decoration having been previously seen by any person present 
at the entertainment. 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 77 

shading can be resorted to in this class of stencilling ; 
and it can be further enriched by being outlined with 
silk-stitching in harmonious colours. For any char- 
acteristic decoration required in the production of 
fancy-dresses the process of water-colour stencilling 
is admirably adapted. 


STENCILLING TEXTILE FABRICS IN 
OIL-COLOURS 

For fine work of a more permanent character, exe- 
cuted on silk or any other choice material, the specially 
prepared “ Textile Stencilling Colours,” described in 
Chapter II., should be used. This is necessary, 
because the ordinary artists’ oil-colours contain so 
much raw oil that they not only dry much too slowly, 
but are almost certain to stain the fabric, around their 
edges, by the spreading of their surplus oil : in the 
specially prepared colours neither of these disadvan- 
tages obtain. Examples of this fine class of stencilling 
are represented, as faithfully as practicable, in the four 
coloured plates given in this treatise : these have been 
produced by the “ three-colour half-tone process ” 
directly from actual stencil-work on silk, executed by us 
specially for illustration. The designs on these plates 
are necessarily somewhat simple, but they indicate the 
system or style of artistic and decorative stencilling we 
advocate : in them the effects of the graduation and 
the shading of harmonious colours are clearly shown, 


78 ARTISTIC STENCILLING 

although a certain amount of the delicacy and refine- 
ment of the original colouring has been lost in the 
photo-engraving. As the designs on the plates show, 
they are independent of any form of outlining ; but 
designs stencilled in oil-colours are much better adapted 
to receive gold-thread outlining than those in which 
water-colours are employed. Designs of an ecclesi- 
astical character, which are appropriate for the 
embellishment of altar-frontals, pulpit and lectern 
hangings, banners, &c., should be outlined with gold- 
thread or fine, gold-coloured silk cord. An additional 
richness can be imparted to such designs by embroider- 
ing the veins with silk, and adding a few effective 
stitches to the centres and petals of flowers. We have 
in our preceding remarks alluded to the advantage of 
artistic stencilling over ordinary applique. In Plate 
XXVII. is given a simple ecclesiastical design, which 
shows the effect of stencil-work alone. Carried out 
to a larger scale, outlined with gold, and accentuated 
with artistically-applied embroidery stitches, such a 
device would prove extremely effective. We strongly 
recommend this branch of art to the attention of our 
lady readers, for while it readily lends itself to the 
production of simple designs, it leads to the execution 
of decorative work of the most sumptuous and 
elaborate description, in which figure subjects may be 
appropriately introduced. The drapery in such sub- 
jects can be shaded with a beauty and richness equal to 
the finest essays of the Japanese embroiderers, or the 


STENCILLING OF TEXTILE FABRICS 79 

miniaturists of the Middle Ages in Europe. Faces 
can be grounded-in by stencilling, and subsequently 
finished by the brush and ordinary oil-colours. The 
same remark applies to the hands, hair, &c. 

In applying the colours, the method previously de- 
scribed for stencilling in oil-colours on wood should be 
followed; the use of the specially-prepared 4 ‘ Textile 
Stencilling Colours ” rendering the process simple and, 
with reasonable attention to details, certain. The 
most important matter is the proper charging of the 
stencil-brush according to the nature of the textile 
fabric, and the size and character of the stencil to be 
used. If the fabric is thin and fine in texture, very 
little colour should be applied by the brush, all super- 
abundant colour being removed from the latter before 
it is used : as a rule, the colour cannot be laid on too 
thinly, providing it covers the fabric properly, and 
appears rich and uniform in tint. 

The shading should, as a rule, be proceeded with 
as soon after the ground-colour has been stencilled as 
possible, so that all the tints may be properly combined 
and softly graduated ; and this may frequently be done 
without removing or cleaning the stencil. When the 
pattern or design has to be stencilled many times, it 
will be more convenient to lay the ground-colours in 
every repetition before proceeding to shade them. 
Even should the ground-colours be dry before the 
shading is commenced, careful manipulation of the 
brush, which must be very lightly charged with colour, 


8o 


ARTISTIC STENCILLING 


will secure a satisfactory result. It will, probably, be 
found desirable to use a very light shading tint for the 
first application, so as to avoid any tendency to crude- 
ness in the graduation. A little practice will clear 
away all difficulties, and each one will find the manner 
best suited to his peculiar use of both the colour and 
the brush. 

In fine polychromatic stencilling, such as is repre- 
sented in Plates XXIV., XXV., XXVI., and XXVII., 
careful shielding will always be required to enable each 
colour to be laid on with ease and certainty. This 
simple branch of the process of stencilling is fully 
described in the concluding portion of the preceding 
Chapter. It will be necessary to cut the openings in 
the shields very cleanly and accurately, as the colours 
are usually divided by very narrow portions of the 
fabric. The cuttings must be made as close as possible 
to the edges of the perforations in the stencil, so that 
the shield can be securely attached to the dividing 
strips or bands. If the brush is held vertically and 
applied with care, there should be no tendency in its 
operations to disturb the edges of the shield. The 
originals from which the four plates mentioned have 
been engraved were stencilled with shields for each 
colour, and shaded in the manner which has been 
fully described in the preceding Chapter. 


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson dr* Co. 
Edinburgh London 


Plate IV 







Plate V 

















Plate VI 










Plate VII 






Plate Vl 1 1 



Plate IX 









Plate X 






Plate XII 




Plate XIII 


▲ 


w 













Plate XlV 




Plate XV 



f' 








Plate XVI 




















Plate XVI t 



mM 



Plate XVIII 




Plate XIX 




















Plate XX 



/ 




I 










Plate XXI 




I 










' 



Plate XXI! 




/ 

t 

















Plate XXIII 






' 


















Plate XXIV. 











/ 















Plate XXV 






■ 











i 












qo-6&o* t